Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 12th, 2012

What made the cobwebs

with 10 comments

Click for greater clarity.

On July 20, when I wandered along the east bank of Waller Creek adjacent to Chesterfield Ave. in north-central Austin, I took a bunch of pictures of the Ambrosia trifida, or giant ragweed, that I found flowering there before the species’ usual time. Many of the stalks were covered with cobwebs, a common occurrence in nature, and in looking at my pictures on the computer screen later I discovered that one image showed the spider that had presumably spun the web on this ragweed plant. I don’t think I noticed it in real time (as computer people say), but you can see the little spider below and to the left of the place where this flower stalk, which had come to be positioned horizontally, crossed the vertical stalk behind it.

For those of you who are interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 2, and 6 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Another early arrival

with 13 comments

Click for greater clarity.

2012 has been a year of early flowering for many species in Austin. On July 20, when I wandered along the east bank of Waller Creek adjacent to Chesterfield Ave. in north-central Austin, I encountered another early arrival, but one not likely to thrill the hearts of even the most fervent native plant lovers. What I found flowering at least a month before its usual time, and in quantity, was Ambrosia trifida, giant ragweed, the bane of many an allergy sufferer. Like other ragweeds, this one relies on the wind to do its fertilization, so the plant produces lots of pollen that gets blown hither and yon. Notice how some of that yellow pollen had gotten caught in the conspicuous spider webs that covered this stalk.

If you’d like a look back at a few previous articles on this species, you can check out these posts:

Succession

A family resemblance

A strange embrace

For those of you who are interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 2, 6, 7, and 17 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 12, 2012 at 6:14 AM

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